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品尝冰岛传统美食:腐烂鱼肉

更新时间:2018-2-7 20:03:49 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

In Iceland, food is a challenge, not a meal
品尝冰岛传统美食:腐烂鱼肉

The snow drifted high around the little outbuilding of a restaurant I was in, metres from the gelid ocean, but the place was warm, decorated with fish nets and crab carapaces and the occasional gnome. On a dish in front of me was liver sausage cured in soured whey, dung-smoked lamb and a couple of slabs of rotten skate that looked like they were designed by H R Giger and smelled strongly of urine. The liver sausage was appropriately sour but otherwise sausage-y, and the lamb benefited greatly from the fact that sheep apparently don’t digest very well, meaning that it could just as easily have been called grass-smoked lamb.

我在的一家餐厅外面的小屋周围飘着高高的积雪,这里离极寒海洋只有几米远,但这地方却很温暖,装饰着渔网和蟹甲,还有几个精灵。我面前的一道菜是酸乳清浸肝肠、烟熏羊肉和几片腐烂的鳐鱼肉(Skata),看上去好像是汉斯·鲁道夫·吉格尔(H R Giger)设计似的,闻起来有股浓浓的尿味。肝肠酸度刚好,否则肠的味道会很重,羊肉的品相感觉那只羊消化不太好,意思是说它可以简单被叫做草熏羊肉。

As I raised my fork with my first piece of the rotten fish, a voice boomed at me from across the room.

正当我拿起叉子叉起第一片烂鱼肉时,一个穿透房间的声音嘭地一声响起。

“Skata! Ha!”

"腐烂鱼肉!哈!"

It was an Icelander in his mid- to late 20s, short, bearded and a little stout – a guide bringing in a couple of Chinese tourists. His name was Gísli. He’d been my guide the night before in this small northern town of Akureyri. We’d spent a lovely evening chasing the aurora borealis in his SUV, listening to the glockenspiels, tambourines, bowed guitars and falsettos that loom so large in Iceland’s famously soft, ethereal music.

这声音是来自一个二、三十岁的冰岛人,矮个,胡子拉碴的,有些壮实——他是一名导游,正拉来两个中国游客。他的名字叫吉斯利(Gísli)。在这座阿库雷里(Akureyri)的北方小镇,他是我昨晚的导游。我们耗上了美丽一晚的时间在他的SUV里追逐北极光,听钟琴、铃鼓、琴弓和若影若现的宽阔假音,合奏着冰岛柔美、优雅的著名乐曲。

“Good? Do you like it?” Gísli boomed. I told him I hadn’t tried it yet.

"好吃吗?你喜欢吗?吉斯利嚷嚷道。我告诉他,我还没有试过。

“You’ll love it! It’s horrible!”

"很难吃!但你会爱上它的!"

Then I tried it. The skate was hot, just out of the oven, but the burn I felt on my tongue was chemical, a result of some strong ureic reaction going on in this decomposing fish corpse. I may have made a face.

于是我尝了尝。鱼肉是烫的,新鲜出炉,但那种舌头上的灼烧感是一种化学反应,由这只被分解的鱼体而引起的某种强烈的尿道反应。我大概做了个怪相。

“Ha!” Gísli was back across the room with his clients, but had kept an eye on me. “Terrible, right? Ha, I love it! They give me one, I’ll finish it and ask for more. Good Viking food! Strong! Ha!”

"哈!"吉斯利穿堂回来,跟他的客户一起,但始终注意着我。"很糟糕,对吧?哈,我爱它!他们给我了一只,我吃完了,还要更多。很棒的维京美食!重口味!哈!"

It was hard to tell with his thick sweater and large jacket, but he may have done a pec flex with that last ‘ha’.

穿着他的厚毛衣和大外套其实很难分辨,但他可能用最后一个"哈"做了个鼓动肌肉的动作。

I finished the rest of the fish and went back to the buffet for a little lamb face. It was my second day of a week-long trip, and only my third meal. But right from my lunch the previous day at a place called Kaffi Kú (Cow Café), where I ate a big bowl of beef stew in a glassed-in dining room that jutted out into and over the stables where the pre-stew cows were milling about, I got the impression that Icelanders have a different relationship to their food than most.

我吃完了剩下的鱼,回到自助餐席,吃了一点羊脸肉。这是我一周行程的第二天,仅仅是我的第三顿饭。我前一天的午餐,在一个叫做牛咖啡馆(Kaffi Kú)的地方,我吃了一大碗炖牛肉。那是个四周用玻璃围住的餐厅,在旁边的就是上炖前的牛在里面瞎转悠的牛棚。就是这时我产生了一种印象,冰岛人与他们的食物有着极为特殊的关系。

Bringing people up-close to the source of their food is admirably rational, but that rotten fish seemed anything but. And as I ate my way down to and across capital city Reykjavik, eating more rotten, sour and dung-smoked foods, it occurred to me that Icelandic food culture was not only odd, but possibly unique. Though eating cheaper and often less-obviously appetizing parts of animals and plants is common, every other national cuisine I’d tried took pride in how good they were able to make their calf stomach (Bulgarian shkembe), sheep’s brain (Moroccan mokh mchermel) or cows’ tails (Jamaican oxtail stew). But Icelanders like Gísli, it seems, revel in how bad their traditional food is.

把人带到食物的源头着实理性得令人佩服,但腐烂的鱼肉却全然不是这样。我沿着首都雷克雅维克(Reykjavik)一路吃下去,享用了更多的腐烂、发酸、粪熏食物,这让我感受到,冰岛美食文化不仅是奇怪,而且可能堪称极品。尽管吃到便宜的,不那么常见的动物和植物部位是很常见的事情,例如保加利亚牛肚,摩洛哥羊脑,牙买加牛尾,他们都因未能将罕见部位烹饪得多么可口而骄傲。但是冰岛人,就像吉斯利,仿佛沉醉于他们的传统美食有多么糟糕。

People tend to think that Vikings are to Icelanders roughly what Romans are to Italians. And Vikings were notoriously tough, laughing in the face of hardship, able to withstand extreme suffering and strike terror into the hearts of their enemies.

人们通常会认为维京人是冰岛人,大致就像是认为罗马人就是意大利人。众所周知,维京人很强悍,他们嘲笑苦难,能够忍受极端的痛苦,让他们的敌人闻风丧胆。

But here’s the thing: Icelanders aren’t Vikings. They never were. According to a relatively modest note near the beginning of the 871±2 permanent exhibit at the Reykjavik City Museum, Icelanders are mostly descended from Norwegian farmers who wanted to get away from the Vikings and just tend their fields and livestock in peace.

但有一件事情要说:冰岛人并不是维京人。他们从来就不是。雷克雅维克城市博物馆871±2永久展览中开始部分有一条相当中肯的注解,冰岛人大多起源自想逃离维京,只是与世无争种地养家禽的挪威农民。

“That’s one of the great new things,” said Jesse Byock, author of Viking Age Iceland and a professor of early Icelandic history and Old Norse saga literature at both the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and the University of Iceland. “Icelanders never really connected themselves to the Viking world, they were always Icelanders. But the younger people are very enthusiastic about Vikings, and they’re all working hard to show that they can eat this stuff.”

"那是一件伟大的新事物,"《维京时代冰岛》(Viking Age Iceland)作者,加利福尼亚大学洛杉矶分校(UCLA)和冰岛大学(University of Iceland)早期冰岛历史和古斯堪的那维亚文学教授耶西·碧奥格(Jesse Byock)这样说。"冰岛人从未真正将他们自己与维京世界联系起来,他们始终都是冰岛人。但年轻人非常热衷于维京,他们总是很努力的证明,自己可以容纳这个事物。

Icelanders have always eaten this food – the famous cubes of rotten shark called hákarl are available at the average corner shop in Reykjavik – but as tourism outstrips agriculture and fishing, accounting for 31% of total export revenues in 2015, the younger generations have embraced the tourist-friendly Viking mantle, possibly even identifying more closely with this Netflix-friendly heritage.

被称为“hákarl”的发酵鲨鱼肉是冰岛人著名食物,在雷克雅维克的普通街角店铺都有售——但在这个旅游业胜过农业和渔业,2015年总出口收益中,旅游业占31%的国家,年轻一代已经接受了游客们喜欢的维京人说法。

But according to Byock, the actual history behind this food, and modern Icelanders’ relationship with it, is far more interesting than bushy beards and horned helmets.

但根据碧奥格的解释,这个冰岛美食背后的真正历史,以及现代冰岛人与这道美食的关系,比维京人的浓密胡须和角盔还要有趣得多。

When the first Scandinavians made their way to Iceland’s shores in the year 871 (give or take a couple of years – hence the title of that exhibit), they found a densely wooded island that seemed ripe for cultivation. But as settlers started showing up over the next 100 years, only really arriving in earnest around the year 1000, they slowly realised that all those birch forests they were cutting down to build and heat their houses weren’t going to grow back with their sheep grazing everywhere. And without the trees, the topsoil began to erode, making it difficult, and often impossible, to either grow crops or pasture their livestock.

斯堪的纳维亚人最初在871年(或者是前后两年——上述展览由此得名)首次抵达冰岛海岸,他们发现了一个树木繁茂,看上去耕种条件很成熟的岛屿。接下来100年定居者们开始展露头角,但真正直到约1000年时,他们慢慢地意识到,所有那些他们砍伐下来用来建造和加热房屋的桦树森林,将不会长回来,而他们的羊只有到处找草吃。没有了树木,表层土开始腐蚀,很难甚至常常是无法种农作物或放养家畜。

They were far enough from the European mainland to make importing food just as impossible, and so Icelandic culture and society evolved in a state of near constant hunger, always on the verge of famine, having to make do with whatever they were able to scrounge and forage, and using manure in the absence of wood for heating and cooking.

他们远离欧洲大陆,进口食物是不可能的,所以冰岛文化和社会的演变过程处于一种几乎长期饥饿、近乎饥荒的状态,他们不得不用乞讨搜寻到的任何东西来做食物,在没有木材的情况下用粪肥来加热、烹饪。

“Let’s say there’s a storm,” Byock said. “A whale is dead, sinks to the bottom, the gases blow up, it floats to shore, you get tonnes and tonnes of meat. What do you do? Well, first, you kill each other to see who gets it, then you bring it up, you get these barrels of whey and drop huge chunks of whale into it.”

"比如说有风暴来袭,"碧奥格说。"一条鲸鱼死了,沉到海底,气体上升,它浮到岸边,这样你就获得了数公吨的肉。你会怎么做?好吧,首先,大家会相互厮杀来看谁最终得手,然后你把它拿起来,用几桶乳清粉,把大块鲸鱼肉放在里面。

Icelanders’ ancestors were tough all right, but they weren’t Vikings. They were starving farmers, doing whatever it took to stay alive.

冰岛人的祖先是彪悍没错,但他们不是维京人。他们是挨饿的农民,不顾一切的想尽办法要存活下来。

Though Icelanders don’t eat beached whale (hvalreki) anymore, this scavenging approach to food is also the origin of hákarl, a milder version of the skate I had in Akureyri. Though the flesh of the huge Greenland shark is usually toxic to humans – the high concentration of urea leads to skin, eye and respiratory distress – once it’s allowed to rot a bit, traditionally in a hole on the beach (nowadays in plastic containers), it becomes a valuable source of protein. Rays and other large sharks are equally toxic, and equally edible when left to ferment or rot. And since it’s all already rotten, it keeps pretty well, too.

尽管冰岛人不再吃搁浅的鲸鱼,但这种清洗食物的方法也是发酵鲨鱼肉(hákarl)的源头。发酵鲨鱼肉类似腐烂的鳐鱼肉。尽管巨型格陵兰鲨的鱼肉通常对人类有毒——高浓度尿素会导致皮肤、眼睛和呼吸困难——一旦等到它变得腐烂一些,通常保存是在海滩上的一个洞里(如今是在塑料容器里),它会变成一种很珍贵的蛋白质来源。蝠鲼和其他大鲨鱼也同样有毒,在发酵或腐烂后同样可食用。而且既然它都已经腐烂了,保存起来就很方便咯。

So for centuries, this foul-tasting food was the difference between life and death. Icelanders’ ability to deal with the really, really horrible taste was as important to the existence and eventual success of Iceland as the actual Vikings’ ability to deal with travel- and battle-related hardship was to mainland Scandinavia’s.

所以多个世纪以来,这种腐烂口味的食物代表着生与死的分别。冰岛人处理真正糟糕味道的能力对于冰岛存活和最终成功的重要性,正如真正的维京人处理旅行和战争引发困境的能力对于斯堪的纳维亚大陆一样重要。

With two million people a year travelling to the country, the national diet has been changing over the past three decades, leaning much more heavily towards pizzas, pasta and burgers. But this is still a small nation, just 330,000 people, and their traditions are not only tourist attractions; they’re what anchor these displaced Scandinavians to their past, and each other.

随着每年逾两百万人的游客访问量,这个国家的饮食在过去三十年来已经发生了变化,更多地倾向于吃披萨、意大利面和汉堡包。但这里仍然是个小国家,只有33万人口,他们的传统不仅仅在于旅游景点;他们维系着这些异地定居的斯堪的纳维亚人的过去与现在。

Every Christmas, and every Þorri – the old Icelandic month that corresponds to the end of January and beginning of February – is given over to traditional foods, which, in addition to all the rotten fish, includes rams testicles (súrsaðir hrútspungar), boiled sheep’s heads with the wool singed off (svið), smoked mutton (hangikjöt), seal flippers (seishreifar) and whale blubber cured in sour milk (súr hvalur).

每年圣诞节和每年仲冬(Þorri)——古老的冰岛月份,对应1月底和2月初——人们尽享传统美食,除了所有腐烂的鱼肉之外,还包括公羊睾丸(súrsaðir hrútspungar)、煮羊头(svið)、熏羊肉(hangikjöt)、海豹鳍状肢(seishreifar)和酸牛奶浸鲸脂(súr hvalur)。

You can find hot springs like the famous Blue Lagoon and the ice fields that cover the island’s interior in any number of places, but I know of no other country whose history, evolution and survival are so consciously intertwined and celebrated in its food.

你可以在任何地方找到类似冰岛的蓝湖温泉(Blue Lagoon),和覆盖冰岛内陆的冰原,但我知道,与历史、演变和人民生存如此紧密联系的传统美食只有冰岛才有。

And to be honest, the lamb face is pretty good.

而且老实说,羊脸肉的味道相当不错。

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